This book is: an enthralling and multi-layered YA fantasy series kickoff.
Other elements: tarot mythology, YA love triangles, plants, magic, fate, Louisiana, zombies.
Read it: if you like a good epic YA fantasy series.
Overall rating: 8/10
You all know I can’t resist a YA fantasy series with a badass lady hero at the front of the cast. That’s what drew me to Poison Princess right off the bat – but while I came for the girl power, I stayed for the fascinating and intricate world.
First things first: I intend this to be a review of just the first book in the Arcana Chronicles, Poison Princess, but I have to confess that I did my usual trick of reading an entire series in just a few days and that sometimes leaves me unable to remember what happened in which book. So please consider this to be 95% a review of Poison Princess, with the added perspective of someone who has read the rest of the series as well.
Poison Princess, the first book in the Arcana Chronicles series, takes a story-within-a-story approach. The reader first meets our main character, Evie, through the eyes of an apparent serial killer who is plotting to lure her into his horrible laboratory. First, though, he wants to hear her story. This is the middle 90% of the book: Evie telling a man who wants to murder her about the events that have led her to this point. The cool effect of this approach is that the reader then has to wonder if they’ve been hearing the backstory from a reliable narrator or not…the rest of the series will tell.
Evie, the badass main female character I was looking forward to reading, turned out to be more of a beautiful, busty, blonde cheerleader than I would have liked (as in, she’s literally a busty, blonde cheerleader of exceptional beauty)…and she’s a little too dependent on the men in her life. But Evie gets several more books in which to grow, and the series as a whole has plenty of powerful, independent ladies to appreciate.
The characters are interesting, but what really shines in Poison Princess and the rest of the Arcana Chronicles is the world-building. Cole creates such an interesting, multi-layered scenario – a little urban fantasy, a little zombie apocalypse, a little YA – and lets loose a fascinating and diverse cast of characters.
If you like YA fantasy and want to try something interesting and a little different, the Arcana Chronicles and Poison Princess are definitely worth your time.
I was provided with a copy of Poison Princess for review consideration, but my opinions remain my own.
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